Friday, October 20, 2017

Off Topic: You Compare it with a Hallmark Movie Like That's a Bad Thing

Off Topic is WLABBs post for discussing non-bookish things. This week, I am talking about

If there is one thing I look forward to, it's Saturday nights, because that is when the new Hallmark movies air. I will, without shame, aver my love for these movies. Yes, they may be a little cheesy and predictable, but I cannot help by enjoy every second of them.

Why I enjoy Hallmark movies:

  1. These movies are fun and lighthearted. Sometimes, the world can be scary and cold, but these movies always warm my heart and leave a smile on my face. 
  2. I am a lover and love and will never turn away from a sweet romance. I don't think I have every seen a non-romantic Hallmark movie, and therefore, I know no matter what movie is on, it will appeal to the romance lover in me. 
  3. These movies are good, clean fun, dare I say, wholesome, and sometimes you want to revert to that kinder, gentler kind of entertainment. As a bonus, they can be enjoyed by the whole family. 
  4. I NEED an HEA, and these movies always end happily ever after. I dare to dream that some things can end with joy and happiness, and it's movies like these that help me hold on to that hope. 
  5. They do these seasonal themes, and it's always fun to find the common thread through the group of films. 
  6. I sort of love that they pull from the same pool of actors for these movies. I like seeing a familiar face. It's like coming home. 
  7. When things are tough, I just want something that I can depend on, and I can pretty much tell you where each movie is going early on, and I love it. It is very comforting to know how things will turn out at times. 
  8. There are always people committing acts of kindness in these movies. I need to be reminded of stuff like that, because as I said before, the world can be a cold, scary place. This helps me keep my faith in humanity. 
  9. Each movie ends with a kiss. If you don't believe me, watch a few. 
  10. My favorite time of year is approaching too: Countdown to Christmas! An HEA with holiday magic? What more could I ask for!

Now it's your turn!

Hallmark Movies - Yea or Nay? 
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Teaser: Saving It - Monica Murphy

Saving It, an all-new YA romance from Monica Murphy is coming November 6th!

Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

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In a Nutshell Reviews: Girls Lost and Found

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights. All three of this week's books are connected by the theme of self discovery.

Everything Must Go
Jenny Fran Davis
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Flora Goldwasser has fallen in love. She won't admit it to anyone, but something about Elijah Huck has pulled her under. When he tells her about the hippie Quaker school he attended in the Hudson Valley called Quare Academy, where he'll be teaching next year, Flora gives up her tony upper east side prep school for a life on a farm, hoping to woo him. A fish out of water, Flora stands out like a sore thumb in her vintage suits among the tattered tunics and ripped jeans of the rest of the student body. When Elijah doesn't show up, Flora must make the most of the situation and will ultimately learn more about herself than she ever thought possible.

Told in a series of letters, emails, journal entries and various ephemera, Flora's dramatic first year is laid out for all to see, embarrassing moments and all.
  • Pro: I love mixed format books, and this one included emails, blog posts, photos, letters, and more. The different formats were used well, and were cleverly used to bring in different perspectives. 
  • Pro: Flora was a star. I loved her voice from page one, and I was so happy to go on this journey with her. 
  • Pro: The colorful cast of characters gave me the gift of laughter over and over again. 
  • Pro: Flora and her sister had a sisterly bond that made me jealous. Lael was an incredible big sister and was still there for Flora even when she went against her advice. 
  • Con: The ending was sweet, but I am not too sure what the intention was. Not disappointing, because I smiled, but still not sure about it. 
  • Pro: As radical as the school was for me, there were a lot of interesting ideas discussed and I like when I am made to look at something in a different way or left with food for thought. 
  • Pro: There are many, many feminists in this book, and therefore. lots of feminists discussions. But what I loved most about this girl-powered group, was how they wanted to support one of their own in her time of need. 

Overall: A fun and quirky coming of age tale filled with wonderful and interesting characters, which left me with a smile on my head and a lot of interesting thoughts in my head.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

My Unscripted Life
Lauren Morill
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte
Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Perfect for fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Huntley Fitzpatrick, you'll love this funny and sweet contemporary romance about a Southern girl ready for a ho-hum summer until she meets the boy of her dreams who happens to be an international pop star.

Sometimes love stories go off script.

Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she'd gone away, she wouldn't have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.

It's not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she's just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there's a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there's more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never. . .
  • Pro: Super-cute summer romance
  • Pro: I really liked getting to know the "real" Milo, and I was glad he found someplace where he could be real. 
  • Pro: Lots of interesting movie making concepts were shared with us, and I really felt like I was on the set with the characters. 
  • Con: Jealousy and miscommunication play a role in this story, and I thought Dee needed to tone it down at time. 
  • Pro: The "crisis of direction" Dee was having was a great aspect of the story. I was really happy with where Morill went with this, and besides, Dee was a great character, who was able to switch gears and use her talent in a different way. 
  • Pro: I have a thing for small town settings, and Wilder was a pretty nice town to visit. 
  • Pro: I liked the family interactions. Dee's history geek dad and romance writer mom added some fun to the story, and they were great parents. 
  • Pro: I am pretty sure we can count what happened near the end as a grand gesture, and I LOVE grand gestures. 
  • Pro: Thank you very much for the epilogue. It was quite the time jump I would have liked, but it was still good. 
But did I mention that there was a grand gesture?

Overall: A cute and fluffy romance, where Dee found love and herself as she found her new direction.

The Book of Lies
Teri Terry
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Who lies? Who tells the truth? Death hangs on the answer...

'Highly recommended, especially for those who like their fantasy subtle but chillingly effective, and populated by characters they can believe in' (Starburst Magazine)

Tell a lie and the darkness will find you. Quinn and Piper are twins, but they've never met. A tragic event brings them together, and draws them into a family curse that stretches across centuries. One twin can command the darkness; the other could hold the key to breaking the curse. But when lies become truth and truth looks like lies, who can you believe?

Don't miss this startling new book from Teri Terry, queen of the YA psychological thriller!

They are trapped, frozen. Waiting. Straining against the wood that holds them. The unwary catch a glimpse now and then - feel their desperate hunger, see a glint of red eyes - and scurry out of the shadows of the wood, back to the light. She's coming; it will be soon. They will run free on the moors again. The Hunt will return. And the ground will run with blood.

  • Pro: A Compelling Mystery that is a little dark and creepy. 
  • Pro: Terry did a great job creating an eerie atmosphere in this book, which added to the overall level of tension of this tale. 
  • Pro: A mysterious inheritance, a secret sister, a family curse, and dark dreams held my interest in this story. 
  • Pro: The book had quite a few good twists and turns to keep us from guessing the truth too early. 
  • Con: It takes a while to hit its stride, but if you are patient, you will find the story gets better and better with each page.  
  • Pro: I like the alternating POV format, which employed shorter chapters and clearly showed the contrast between the two twins. 
  • Pro: I found the ending very interesting and though provoking. I wish I could say more, but I don't do spoilers. 
  • Pro: Did I mention witches and magic?

  • Overall: An intriguing atmospheric tale, with some interesting ideas about truth and lies, good and evil, love and family. 

    **I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

    Have you read any of these books?
    Let us know in the comments!

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    Can't-Wait Wednesday: Someone to Love - Melissa de La Cruz

    Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    This week I can't wait for Someone to Love!

    Someone to Love
    Melissa de la Cruz
    Series: n/a
    Release Date: January 2, 2018
    Publisher: harlequin TEEN
    Waited on by: Sam
    Constantly in the spotlight thanks to her politician father's rising star, Olivia Blakely feels the pressure to be perfect. As the youngest girl in her class, she tries hard to keep up and to seem mature to the older boy she's crushing on, even as she catches his eye. But the need to look good on camera and at school soon grows into an all-consuming struggle with bulimia.

    As Liv works toward her goal of gaining early admission to art school, including taking part in an upcoming student show, her life spirals out of control. Swept up in demands to do more than she's ready for, to always look perfect and to succeed, Liv doesn't know who she is anymore. It will take nearly losing her best friend and even her life for Liv to learn that loving herself is far more important than earning the world's approval.
    Five Reasons I want to read this book:

    1. I can already tell this will be really emotional. I live for emotional reads. 
    2. I really like when characters go through the fire and come out stronger on the other side.
    3. I believe de la Cruz will responsibly explore the character's bulimia, and I am interested in seeing which aspects of the disorder she employs in this story. 
    4. The family aspect sounds like it could be quite interesting. A high profile parent always brings additional stress, and the political spotlight is a intriguing angle. 
    5. I like de La Cruz, so why wouldn't I want to read one of her books? 

    What are you waiting on?
    Let us know in the comments!

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    Top Ten Tuesday: Foodie Books

    Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

    Ten Book Featuring Foodies!

    I have read many books, which featured food, and made me hungry, but these books didn't only feature food, but also featured characters who were foodies and prepared food.

    North of Happy
    Adi Alsaid
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: Harlequin Teen

    Carlos was supposed to join the family business, but after his brother's murder, he set out to chase his dream of being a chef. Each chapter in this book starts with a recipe, and there is a LOT of cooking. I really wished I was there to taste some of the food described in this book.

    Sarah Ockler
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: Simon Pulse

    Hudson was a once figure skater and the cupcake queen. She would create these amazing cupcakes for her family's diner, and each one was described at the beginning of the chapter. Cupcakes are my favorite, so I really loved reading about all her creations.

    Kids Like Us
    Hilary Reyl
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

    Martin loved cooking, as it was a way he connected to his father. With his father out of the picture, he found great comfort in preparing the dishes he once made along side his father. He cooked both savory and sweet with inspiration from Julia Child, and it all sounds mouthwatering.

    Artificial Sweethearts
    Julie Hammerle
    Series: North Pole, Minnesota,
    Publisher: Entangled: Crush

    Tinka was an budding baker, and she would bake when she was stressed or trying to atone for some of her actions. I loved seeing what she would whip up, but totally got the feels when she recreated a dessert that was very special to Sam, as it reminded him of his mom.

    Kissing Max Holden
    Katy Upperman
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: Swoon Reads

    Jill aspired to attend a culinary school, and was always honing her skills in this book. Girl baked A LOT, but food also served to sooth the characters and as a way for them to bond.

    Who's That Girl
    Blair Thornburgh
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: HarperTeen

    This group of teens were holding weekly bake sales in order to raise money for their alternative prom. Therefore, we got to spend quite a bit of time in Zach's kitchen as he created sweet confections for the sales. These scenes not only let us observe his kitchen skills, they were also where Nattie and Zach had some real heart to hearts.

    Wicked Like a Wildfire
    Lana Popović
    Series: Hibiscus Daughter, #1
    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

    This book features a magical family bakery, and Popović describes the treats so vividly. These are not your normal, everyday baked items either. They were high-end and unique and sounded ah-mazing.

    To All The Boys I've Loved Before
    Jenny Han
    Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before, #1
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books

    Lara Jean was always baking something up for us in these books. She knew the way to anyone's heart was through their stomach, and she obliged with cakes and cookies and lots of sweet treats.

    The Art of Lainey
    Paula Stokes
    Series: The Art of Lainey, #1
    Publisher: HarperTeen

    Micah was employed by Lainey's family as a cook, but he aspired to be a pastry chef. Between Micah's dreams and many scenes taking place in a restaurant, we heard about quite a bit of food.

    What Happened to Goodbye
    Sarah Dessen
    Series: n/a
    Publisher: Penguin

    McLean's father traveled around the country trying to save failing restaurants. Therefore, a large portion of this story takes place in the restaurant discussing among many things, the food prepared there.

    Do you have a favorite foodie book?
    Let us know in the comments!